Fake ID: Holy Grail or Holy Fail for Underage Drinkers?

There is nothing like a beer with the game—except for, maybe, a glass of wine with a book. Drinking is a major part of the human experience. Unfortunately, not all are allowed to partake. Unless you are of age (21 years and older), you are not legally allowed to indulge in “the sauce”, the key word here being: legally.

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Of course, plenty of young people get their drink on anyway. It has been like this… well, forever. But how could our impeccable legal-system leave loopholes for illicit drinking? In other words, how do people get away with this? That, I cannot answer (i.e. I am capable of providing an answer however I am not permitted to). It’s okay; we all know how to work around things like this. None of you need any help from me in this respect. The predicament of being under 21 in an alcohol culture is not a difficult one to solve—except that, for some, it is.

I spoke with someone (I shall call him Bill, though he will remain anonymous) about his troubles in obtaining the supposed holy grail for underagers: the fake ID. At the time of our short interview, Bill was well into his journey toward a fraudulent ID. I have never looked into the process of obtaining a fraudulent ID, so I wondered: is this some dark web business?

“No,” said Bill. “Not even.” There are many, rather accessible websites for this kind of transaction. Given the nature of the business, many of these sites have an increased need for security. They use Bitcoin, a decentralized, digital currency. Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency, meaning, in part, that it cannot be traced. Purchasing Bitcoins for use in transaction means first signing up for an exchange website such as Bitcoin of America. Bill admits “it has proven to be a bit of a headache.”

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“You have to plug-in all this information: your address, social security number and so-forth,” said Bill. In the next step, the potential Bitcoin exchanger is asked a set of questions. This is the start of the security process. “…which tripped me up because, well, I never set up any security questions,” Bill said. “Where were they coming from?”

The site draws questions from your information, then they get personal, asking questions such as: which of these people do you know? They give you a list of four names, one of them you are supposed to recognize. In this case, they may draw the names of people from neighboring addresses, perhaps even the applicant’s Facebook page.

“Yeah, I did not recognize any of those names,” Bill said. “Luckily, each of the answers was in all caps except for one. I did a bit a deduction and reasoned that the lowercase name was most probably the correct answer.” It so happened that it was.

Bill continued through the security process in this way, his method proving successful until the final question. “I remember, it was: ‘which of these streets is closest to where you live?’ Once again, I did not recognize any of the answers. Unfortunately, the answers were all completely capitalized, without exception. This led me to believe that none of the choices would be correct. I guessed anyways.” Now Bill is locked out of that site for good. “Yeah, I check back in every now and again but nothing has changed.”

Ever persistent, Bill tried another exchange site. Here he completed the security process successfully. There is, however, another technical issue. After the security measures, the site has a verification process. “Yeah, and Bitcoin must be poppin’ right now,” Bill said. “I have to wait for two weeks due to ‘a high volume of applicants’. It’s a bit of a bummer.” This all comes before getting into the actual site for making the purchase of the ID.

 

 

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Is it worth all this trouble? Since our interview, Bill has cut his search for the holy grail short. “It just isn’t worth it,” he said. “I am almost of age, many of my friends are of age, plus the bar scene just isn’t really for me; the atmosphere is good, it has a good feel, but it is normally way too crowded.” I assume that he understands this fact about the “bar scene” because he has been into one already. “Yeah,” he said, “there are definitely other ways.”

Beyond Bill’s point, fakes are illegal. Using a fake to obtain alcohol is a misdemeanor. Who has the time, money and patience to deal with that? Manufacturing false identification for the purposes of underage procurement of alcohol can bring fines of up to $1,000 and between 6 months and 1 year of jail time. Not to mention, a fake can cost upwards of $100. Paying any less means you will probably end up being refused by the bouncer and that can prove embarrassing. Just move to Europe or something.

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